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Horses: Categorisation

Lord Rowallan asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Donoughue: The classification as agricultural animals of horses used for production of food, or for farming the land, arises from the Agriculture Act 1947.

Prisoner Deaths: Report to Boards of Visitors

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Williams of Mostyn): Whenever a prisoner dies in custody the death should be reported immediately to the Board of Visitors, amongst others. Prison Rule 95 does not, however, empower the board to inquire into the death of a prisoner, although the board may ask to see the official prison report.

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The information requested is set out in the table below. Some police forces hold records on computer only of those persons who have been granted a firearm or shotgun certificate, not those who have applied for one, and this is indicated below.

Police force areaComputer record of applicantsComputer record of certificate holders
Avon and SomersetYesYes
Cleveland YesYes
Devon and CornwallYesYes
Greater ManchesterYesYes
London, City ofYesYes
Metropolitan PoliceYesYes
North YorkshireNoYes
South YorkshireYesYes
Thames ValleyYesYes
West MerciaYesYes
West MidlandsYesYes
West YorkshireYesYes
North WalesNoYes
South WalesYesYes
Central ScotlandYesYes
Dumfries and GallowayYesYes
Lothian and BordersYesYes

29 Jan 1998 : Column WA68

Police National Computer: Development Tasks

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will list the new development tasks currently being undertaken on the Police National Computer at the Hendon Data Centre, indicating in respect of each the starting date, the expected completion date and the estimated cost.[HL239]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The development tasks in progress on the Police National Computer (PNC) are set out below and have been agreed and prioritised by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) PNC Steering Committee. A precise breakdown of the cost of each development is not available; however, the main element in each case is the staffing resources deployed at the Hendon Data Centre. The estimated costs are therefore expressed in terms of days' effort.

29 Jan 1998 : Column WA69

Project Start DateEstimated Completion Date Days' Effort
Year 2000August 1997October 19982,000
(to ensure compliance with the century date change)
NAFISSeptember 1995May 19983,800
(the National Automated Fingerprint Identification System)
QUESTMay 1996April 19981,800
(to enable searches of the PHOENIX criminal records database using descriptive information)
PNC linksOctober 1997December 1998600
to NSPIS Case Preparation application (National Strategy for Police Information Systems)
High PriorityMid 1997Mid 1998600
Requests For Change (where the Police Service asks for modification to an existing application on the PNC)
Other Requests For ChangeOngoing400
DriversOctober 1997December 19981,500
(information held about drivers, as opposed to their vehicle ownership, such as penalty points accrued, etc.)

In addition, there are a number of major developments which may, subject to ACPO agreement and priority, be added to the programme when resources permit. These are set out below, together with an initial estimate of the resources required, which may vary as User Requirements are finalised.

Links to other NSPIS applications 800

Firearms Certificate Holders 400

Sex Offender Enhancements 600

Police National Computer: Deaths Notification

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What arrangements exist for the automatic notification of deaths registered in the United Kingdom to the Hendon Data Centre of the Police Information Technology Organisation.[HL241]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: There are no arrangements for the automatic notification of deaths registered in the United Kingdom to the Police National Computer (PNC).

The marking of subject records on the PNC as either "Unconfirmed Dead" or "Confirmed Dead" is performed by local forces. This may occur where the death is reported directly to the police, for example, in the case of a sudden or suspicious death or a road traffic accident, or where the police are informed via a coroner's report. Under such circumstances, forces may perform a PNC check and mark the subject record accordingly.

Life Sentence Prisoners: Release Data

Lord Skidelsky asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many life sentence prisoners, who were given minimum recommendations by the trial judge in open court and subsequently a lower tariff date, have been released on or around the date of the lower tariff in the last 10 years.[HL192]

29 Jan 1998 : Column WA70

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The information is not immediately available in the form requested. I shall write to the noble Lord as soon as the material is to hand.

Lord Skidelsky asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, if a life sentence prisoner has been given a minimum recommendation and subsequently a lower tariff date, he should regard the former or the latter as a benchmark for his future release.[HL193]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The latter. Before setting the tariff of a mandatory life sentenced prisoner, the Secretary of State will have taken careful account of the views of the judiciary (including any minimum recommendation made in court by the trial judge under the Murder (Abolition of Death Penalty) Act 1965) on the minimum period which must be served to satisfy the requirements of retribution and deterrence. Thereafter, the tariff is used to set the date of the first review of the case by the Parole Board, which is generally two years before the tariff expires.

Dangerous Dogs (Amendment) Act 1997

Baroness Wharton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many dogs are at present held in police custody, after seizure or detention, since the Dangerous Dogs (Amendment) Act 1997; and for what reasons.[HL263]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: At present there are 52 dogs held in police custody in England and Wales, having been seized since 8 June 1997 when the Dangerous Dogs (Amendment) Act 1997 came into operation.

The dogs are being detained awaiting physical assessment to determine the type or breed; pending advice of the Crown Prosecution Service; subject to court proceedings; or waiting for the owner to obtain a certificate of exemption.

Baroness Wharton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What statistics and other information are being collected centrally or being compiled locally to enable constant review of the Dangerous Dogs (Amendment) Act 1997.[HL264]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Information on the number of cautions, prosecutions, convictions and sentences under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 (as amended in 1997) is recorded centrally. Other information collected centrally relates to cases where the courts have given the owner permission to obtain a certificate of exemption for their dog.

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